thread: 2013-09-11 : The Problem, of course

On 2013-09-11, J. Livingston wrote:

So, in literature studies and textual criticism, there's this thing called the hermeneutic circle. To understand a text, you need to understand how the parts of it, the basic terms and claims, fit together to make up a whole. But to understand any of the parts, you need to understand how they relate to each other as mutually conditioning context. In other words, to know the whole you must know the parts, and to know the parts you must know the whole. This paradox is what makes basic acts of reading and communicating so rich and so challenging. It's a fruitful tension that requires us to find interpretive equilibria, most-plausible-so-far kinds of understanding which adapt as our familiarity with a text deepens.

The hermeneutic circle exists for the author of a text, too, since the author is the text's first and original reader. The whole of what you want to say is what you get when you put all the sentences in order, but the sentences you write are the ones that work together to bring about that whole. To write a sentence you need to know the whole story or the whole argument, but to know the whole story you must already have an idea of how it's told in the sentences.

The situation with game design, I think you're saying, is similar. The designer has to develop moves that reflect the idea of the whole game. But you can't have a clear enough idea of what moves do or don't reflect that idea unless you already have insight into how the game will be structured, ie. what it's moves should look like.

Yeah? Right track?

You could probably turn it around and get something like the hermeneutic circle we started with. A player can only use a move correctly if it's clear how that move relates to the rest of play. But the player's sense of gameplay is something that has to emerge from correct use of the moves at hand.


This makes JMW go "Yup, "Heidegger Stat!""

This makes ET go "The humanists have entered the thread!"

This makes...
short response
optional explanation (be brief!):

if you're human, not a spambot, type "human":